COVID-19 changed how we live and work and transformed entire industries in 2020, impacting everything from hospitality to retail and medicine to technology. The networking industry is no exception. Networking vendors are making changes to meet dynamically changing industry needs and adapting suites that fit their core product portfolios.
With a new year full of unprecedented challenges on the horizon, enterprise network managers and IT directors want to ensure their networks are not only strong and stable but flexible and agile enough to stay ahead of changing demands. Their goal is to keep their networks running smoothly despite the rapidly evolving needs of a post-pandemic world.
In response to the evolving environment, companies in the enterprise network industry are focused on collaborating with competitors and acquiring emerging technologies to minimize process differences and embrace innovation. Collaboration and innovation will continue to lead market expansion in the enterprise networking industry.
In addition to shifting to a remote workforce that requires new communications, productivity, and collaboration tools, much of the networking market expansion is attributed to the ever-growing complexity of cyberattacks. In recent years, the diversity and volume of data breaches contribute to an increasein organizations’ need for advanced network infrastructures, such as firewall/NAT devices and redundant cloud networks.
Many businesses are adopting more robust cybersecurity techniques apart from installing firewalls and restricting user access. This encourages developers to add new defense mechanisms like DRaaS to the equation. Combining artificial intelligence with state-of-the-art algorithms will enable companies to take advantage of smart machine capabilities, detecting threats and solving them in real-time.
Employees and contractors working from home are vulnerable to network latency and cyberattacks when accessing corporate applications and data through personal devices or connections. Many people are unaware that the network speed quoted by their providers is often not guaranteed, and in fact, you are sharing that bandwidth with your neighbors. This often leads to higher network latency, packet loss, jitter, and decreased productivity of the at-home workforce. One way to combat this is by sourcing dedicated internet access (DIA) at home).
With cybersecurity, often the best way to run a secure work-from-home environment is to use set policies, protocols, and management tools to help develop a more secure and scalable work-at-home model.
When businesses are forced to run in the face of unprecedented volatility, they must adopt hybrid connectivity strategies that enable survival. Cloud computing and colocation offer a variety of cost-effective, simple tools for IT leaders to build scalable and reliable architectures with. By 2025, Gartner estimates that 85% of infrastructure strategies will integrate on-premises servers, colocation, cloud, and edge delivery options, versus just 20% in 2020.
This trend will be buoyed by “hyper-scale” public cloud companies such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, who have driven recent demand surges in data center construction and will continue to lead the charge.
Utilizing software-defined WANs can streamline an existing IT infrastructure to exponentially increase network bandwidth, network scalability, and cost control. SD-WAN is cost-effective as it utilizes the public internet and does not require dedicated lines. While public internet might imply a lack of security or control over your network, this is not the case with SD-WAN. This form of connectivity enables network managers to prioritize traffic routing, which reduces latency (e.g., your video conference call gets traffic priority over your lunchtime Youtube binging) and does not sacrifice security.
Wi-Fi 6 was shown to be approximately 30% faster than Wi-Fi 5 was in 2019, with Wi-Fi 6 maxing out at 9.6 Gbps of throughput. It will pick up even more steam in 2021, and the additional speed boost will likely come with more options for extended range. Wi-Fi 6E will increase Wi-Fi’s global reach and is expected to bridge the gap between wireless 5G and next-generation telecommunications technologies.
Enterprise networks should be building themselves to withstand future growth and technological advances by diversifying their connectivity and security strategies. Hybrid connectivity options now provide unprecedented cost savings, security, and reliability. Additionally, new technologies such as SASE (secure access server edge) are gaining traction, enabling businesses to be even more confident in their hybrid connectivity strategies.
As we move into 2021 and beyond, focus on keeping your network secure, scalable, and speedy.